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 Post subject: Mental Toughness & Focus
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 5:49 pm 
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I'm a basketball player. I started playing pretty seriously a few years ago, and I have worked very hard to improve over the past years, and now I'm a fairly high level player. However, the team I currently play for is very inexperienced and, to put it bluntly, not very good.

As a result, there is pressure on me as a leader and also pressure to perform well because I played very well in our first few games of the season. This kind of pressure was never there before, and I am having a hard time accepting my leadership role and have come to expect very high performance from myself at all times. I know on one level that this isn't practical, yet I don't know how set realistic goals.

The other problem I have is that I am very, very competitive. I accept that with the team I am on, it is unlikely that we will win very many games. I have accepted that, but I also find losing very difficult to deal with, and I blame myself, unfairly, for the losses because I feel like I should have been able to perform at a higher level. As I said, I expect a lot of myself, and I am not able to achieve up to my standards. I always feel like I could have done more.

My coaches talk to me about poise, mental toughness and focus, because I tend to lose control emotionally and get frustrated by my teammates and myself. I'm just wondering what advice anyone could give me on becoming more in control of my emotions, and being able to increase my mental toughness.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 12:41 am 
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This is the first thing I thought of.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=45mMioJ5szc

The message that you should get is that you shouldn't be afraid of failure. It happens to the best and it is a fact you have to accept. A unreasonable goal is to stop failure. A reasonable goal is to learn from your failures and improve and progress from them. That is maturity.

I'm not saying it is okay to lose. You push as hard as you can to win and then you push some goddamn more. But when things just don't go your way and you are frustrated with what is going on, take a deep breath, and compose yourself. Composure separates men from boys, professionals from amateurs.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 3:07 pm 
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I was the captain of my high school soccer team (7 years ago). I was in a similar position. Our team had a couple of good players and the rest...well, the rest sucked. Soccer is played 11 on 11, couple of good players is not enough.

Here are a few things that come to mind to help your team and you:

1. Conditioning. You cannot aquire skill as quickly as you can aquire a good level of conditioning.

2. Give yourself permission to be the leader.

3. On of your goals should be to improve as a leader. This will carry over to other areas of your life.

4. A large part of leadership is human relations. The team has to like you and respect you on and OFF the court. Have the frame of mind that you are their older brother.

5. You need to build a good microclimate within the team. Go do something together that has nothing to do with basketball. Pizza (don't get too fat :)), Party, anything.

6. Emotional control is important. Make every effort to keep all negative emotions inside. Focus on enjoying the game no matter what.

7. Play with noticable enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contageous. Express your joy/enthusiams through verbal and non-verbal communication.

8. Give praise for EVERY LITTLE THING players do well during the game and in practice: "Good job!"

9. Touch your teammates in the good comradery kind of way. Human beings respond to touch. Put your arm around a player or on his shoulder when you explalain something.

10. Give verbal guidance throughout the game.


11. Do not exclude anyone from the game. What I mean is do not withhold the ball from a certain player (and don't allow others to do it) because he will 'you know he will mess up the play' Let him mess up a bunch of times.


Well, these are my thoughts. I hope that a lest a few of them will be helpful to you.

Keep us posted.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:46 am 
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I think the difference between success and failure is how you approach life in general. When faced with a difficult situation, are you the type of person who sees it as an opportunity to succeed at something you haven't faced before, or do you see it as an excuse to fail? I know that I've quit at times in my life. During those times and the susequent periods of regret and remorse, all I could think about were the words of others who had told me I was weak for quitting. I became convinced that because I quit I was beyond redemption.

That's almost silly to me now, the thought that I am obligated to tread a certain path because of one or two mistakes. If you look at most of the major religions, heck, even the movies and books about people who've faced obstacles, the overwhelming message is one of redemption. The most inspiring and compelling stories are those where the protagonist falls and must achieve redemption.

It's been said that mistakes happen when you fall down, and failure happens when you don't pick yourself up. But if you think about it, you never really do fail because the opportunity to pick yourself up always exists! No matter how long you lay on the ground after falling, you can always pick yourself up.

I've learned this lesson many times over the years, and thankfully it has begun to sink in. I have more self-confidence than ever because I have reached a point in my life where my own experience has started to take over for borrowed experiences. The younger you are, the more you have to rely on others in order to distinguish wrong from right. You simply don't have the firsthand experience of dealing with pressure and difficult situations that you will later in life. It's natural to hang back and rely on the wisdom of others to guide you during those times.

However, as you grow older and gain experience, you will be able to compare and contrast your own unique insights with those that have been handed down to you. It's a lot like your experience in basketball. When you first started, you probably ran to a spot on the floor because the coach told you to. Now, you run to that spot because you understand the flow of the game. It has become second nature. There is simply no way you could have gained that experience by being told what to do. You had to do it for yourself in order to fully appreciate it.

You have been offered a tremendous opportunity. While your team may not succeed, you are being given a chance to gain some valuable life experience: leading others. Yes, you are probably going to goof up at some point. You might try to take on too much at one point or another. You might be tempted to berate your teammates. You might end up doing any number of things that you will later regret. But take it for what it is, a learning experience that will serve you well for the rest of your life. Those don't come along every day.

George G has offered some specific advice that sounds very good. Learn from his experience by comparing your own to it. Bash contrasting ideas against each other and use your own judgement to determine if it works for you or not and to what degree. When you lack your own, borrowed experience is an excellent springboard from which to begin.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:29 am 
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In Memoriam: TimD
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Hi guys. I'm going to leave this thread running, but I would like to request your permission to archive it. I can't believe what I'm seeing in this thread. I know George G is a transplanted Russian, yet he speaks and writes better English than most of us native Americans. Drew is fantastic. This could really be motivational, and I wouldn't like to loose it. Thanks guys.
Tim


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:26 pm 
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Tim,

Thank you for the complememnt on my English skeelzz :)

You have my permission to archive this, just please explain what archiving entails.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:02 pm 
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In Memoriam: TimD
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Hi George. Archiving is just putting it into a safe file where it won't get lost. A lot of forums save the best articles in somehing like "Good enough to keep", or "Gems", and I think your discussion with Drew fits that category. Not sure where I'm going to keep it, right where it is is good enough for the time being, but might open up a read only cache for this stuff to go into.
Tim


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 2:34 am 
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We could make it sticky.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 4:26 pm 
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Eh, just me blathering on. Image


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 Post subject: Thanks
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:40 pm 
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That's really helpful, thanks so much, great advice and pointers, I'm going to try my best. :-)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 8:22 am 
you sound dedicated to the success of your team which is highly admirable, maybe you should delegate and become a leaderless team where everyone has their turn of making suggestions for tactics and directing play, that should encourage everyone else to achieve your high level of ability and confidence.

a team is exactly that and requires every member to be equal in the confidence of their abilities and decisions, this usually comes through every team member having a go at being a leader themselves.

"a good leader doesnt mind being led" my own quote developed from "instructing" team building and team challenge at an outdoor centre.

give people a chance to let their strengths show through and get the recognition they / everyone requires for confidence and individual leadership within a team of leaders, everyone knows what the goal is ( to win ) and how to do it ( get baskets ) let them get on with it and take a step back to let everyone else shine through, criticism and punishment might get you instant focus and determination but praise and having a laugh will get you long term results, when you are stressed about messing up it may snowball, laugh at your mistakes you shall learn from them too.

you are an eloquent writer and express yourself clearly and succinctly you have obviously had practice at speaking to a crowd or presenting your feelings and emotions about things, this gets easier each time you do it! people warm to and admire someone who has the confidence to luagh at themself as it makes them feel more comfortable and better able to talk about themself.

have faith padawan....

or play more bball together, what do you think?

nc :0)



pure_ball wrote:
I'm a basketball player. I started playing pretty seriously a few years ago, and I have worked very hard to improve over the past years, and now I'm a fairly high level player. However, the team I currently play for is very inexperienced and, to put it bluntly, not very good.

As a result, there is pressure on me as a leader and also pressure to perform well because I played very well in our first few games of the season. This kind of pressure was never there before, and I am having a hard time accepting my leadership role and have come to expect very high performance from myself at all times. I know on one level that this isn't practical, yet I don't know how set realistic goals.

The other problem I have is that I am very, very competitive. I accept that with the team I am on, it is unlikely that we will win very many games. I have accepted that, but I also find losing very difficult to deal with, and I blame myself, unfairly, for the losses because I feel like I should have been able to perform at a higher level. As I said, I expect a lot of myself, and I am not able to achieve up to my standards. I always feel like I could have done more.

My coaches talk to me about poise, mental toughness and focus, because I tend to lose control emotionally and get frustrated by my teammates and myself. I'm just wondering what advice anyone could give me on becoming more in control of my emotions, and being able to increase my mental toughness.


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